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What happens if I pass away before I retire?
What happens if I pass away before I retire?

About your expression of wish, and how we deal with your pension in the event of your death

Written by Smart Pension Support
Updated over a week ago

What happens to my pension if I pass away before retirement?

In the event that you die before you retire, the money in your pension pot can be paid as a lump sum to a beneficiary. Usually, these beneficiaries won’t pay any personal or inheritance tax on the money they receive.

Unlike things like property, your pension is not considered part of your ‘estate’ and so is not covered by your will. This means the trustees will decide how your funds will be shared. A trustee will take appropriate steps to identify who the beneficiaries should be and consider all circumstances, including:

  • your expression of wish

  • the contents of your will

  • if anyone was dependent on you during your lifetime or at the time of your death

  • each beneficiary’s age, needs, and relationship to you

What’s an expression of wish and why do you ask me to complete one?

An expression of wish tells us who you’d like your beneficiary to be, and helps guide the trustee’s decision in choosing them. It's important to keep your expression of wish up to date, just like your will, to reflect any changes in your circumstances over time.

Can I add more than one beneficiary?

Yes, you can add as many beneficiaries as you like. You can specify what percentage of your savings you’d like to go to each one. See How do I add or change my beneficiaries for more details.

How do I complete my expression of wish?

Sign into your account. If you haven't completed an expression of wish you should see a message in the To do list button showing that there are things to do.

Click on the To do list button to take you to your To do list. From there you can click on Complete your expression of wish to take you to the Beneficiaries page so that you can add beneficiaries.

Click on Add beneficiaries and fill out the form to add your first beneficiary. The Percentage of any payment due will need to be "100". As you add more beneficiaries, you can adjust this percentage. The total should always add up to 100 across all beneficiaries.

What happens if I don’t complete my expression of wish?

Without an expression of wish, it can be difficult for us to establish who your savings will go to. You don’t have to provide one, but we strongly encourage you to – so we can take your wishes into consideration when making the decision.

Will my expression of wish always be honoured?

We always do our best to accommodate your wishes, but we have a legal duty to ensure that the most appropriate people receive the funds. For example, if your expression of wish leaves your pension fund to a friend, but you have dependent children, this is something that would need to be taken into consideration. The trustees have discretion as to who should receive the payment.

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